Three to Five

RSS

This is how you climb onto something tall when you’re a clever baby!

Bruiser

Buddy Boy got a little too excited, and instead of following daddy off the front porch and back into the house, he decided to try the stairs. He made it down the stairs, but not very gracefully. I see a winter project porch gate in my near future.

Little Feet

We’re enjoying the sounds of 4 little feet pattering all over the house, & the mischief that goes along with it. 14 months.

(Source: youtube.com)

Jul 9

List of things I love and would want to do

Surfing    paddle boarding   ice skating   race car driving   diving from a high dive bord

Bike Gear

image

I really do enjoy riding my bike. Perhaps too much. Today when I was about to go out for an hour-long ride, I realized there is A LOT OF CRAP a person needs just to go out riding. Now, not all of this is 100% required, but most people will have a good amount of this gear. I had 15 things for my 60-minute jaunt today:

  • Heart Rate Strap: I’m a data junkie, so I track my heart rate for rides and runs.
  • Garmin: Records Power, Speed, GPS track, Cadence, Heart Rate, Perspiration Rate, Blood Pressure, libido, hydration level, calendar, contacts, tasks, etc. Well, most of those.
  • iPod. <only when riding in my neighborhood>
  • Flat Kit in my jersey pocket: Tube, tire lever, C02, and an air chuck.
  • Sunglasses from my full-price sponsor, Rudy Project.
  • Clothes: Shorts, Jersey, Socks.
  • Helmet.
  • Shoes.
  • Road ID, for emergencies.
  • Drink (95% of the time, plain water). I’ll usually take Gels as well, but only use if I bonk.
  • Pump. Need this before every ride.
  • Aero Geek Flat Kit. This stays permanently tucked under the seat on this particular bike.
  • Powertap hub. For recording my effort. Sometimes the display gets stuck on “LOL”.

But, as long as I keep all this crap together (mostly in my helmet), it’s pretty easy to just grab everything in 2 seconds:

image

Be safe out there friends!

Mar 9

Escape from Alcatraz 2013

Escape from Alcatraz 2013 Race Report

image

Wife pregnant with twins? Great! I’ll throw my name into the Escape from Alcatraz lottery. I’ll never get in!

Race reports are boring, so I’ll save you the trouble of reading all the below: I finished; The swim was crazy rough and crazy cold, the bike was beautiful but brutally hilly, and the run was 90% trail run, 100% adventure run.

This race is typically held in June, but was moved this year to MARCH 3rd because of the America’s Cup sail boat race. I take it that Triathlon is the lesser fringe sport than even sailing. So the Escape from Alcatraz people lost access to the bay on their heavenly June weekend, and according to them, early March was the only other time they could make it due to the way tides and currents move in the bay. So with a race in March, I’m expecting the following:

  • It’s gonna be cold.
  • I’m gonna be cold.

That’s pretty much it. I made this trip with my dad who had never been to San Francisco, or California.

image


I had a practice swim in Charlotte’s 50-degree Lake Norman (16 minutes) 9 days before the race, and a 20 minute swim at 51-degree Aquatic Park the day before the race. In my opinion, 50-degrees is way colder than humans or any non-marine wildlife should swim in.


image

Pre-Race
I woke up at 2:45AM because this is the time I wake up every day on west coast time. Our hotel was right beside a 24-hour IHOP, so I decided to go and grab some breakfast. Probably a bad idea, but I’m NOT foreshadowing to make excuses. I promise!

image

I got down to the race site early. Trying to get some air in my tires before bike tech arrived turned out to be a crazy stressful chore. Plus, the air valve extender in my front wheel wouldn’t take air. Eventually, someone showed up with a couple of pumps, a LONG line formed, and I eventually got air. Then I’m on the bus where they shuttle us to the San Francisco Belle boat which goes to Alcatraz.


image

The Swim
I wasn’t really nervous about jumping off the boat. I had 2 hours to sit there and think about it. I heard that I should sit near an exit door, so I sat right beside the door the pros would jump out. I found some FCA teammates on the boat, and we huddled up for a pre-race prayer which was really, really good. I also spent plenty of time in prayer once I jumped into the bay!

Close to go time we all stood up and the pros walked out to the boat deck. The national anthem played, and it was almost go time. A huge Carnival cruise ship had decided to mow down swimmers in the bay, so we waited until it passed.

The gun went off, and the pros jumped in. I expected to have just a short bit before I jumped in, but everyone else started herding out the door and jumping off the boat. So I committed myself to go. I moved to the left before I jumped, and made the leap. When I hit the water, I noticed 3 things.

  1. Wow, I jumped way too deep.
  2. This water is pretty cold.
  3. I don’t have my goggles on. They’re on my head.

Crap, rookie mistake. So I flipped over on my back, put them on, and flipped back over to swim. The water was absolutely boiling. Huge waves prevented me from getting the air I needed. This was unexpected. So I had to be very patient to get air, not panic, and just skip breaths when I went to breathe and a wave was there. Here is a view from one of the safety kayak’s out there: 

I took in the San Francisco skyline view from the bay, and started swimming, trying to stay positive. Here is what it looked like from the water on a much calmer day:

 image

 So I had to swim for several landmarks in order to land up at the swim exit. So I just focused on swimming “across the river” as they said in all the pre-race info. I guess the goal is to get across the river (the bay), and once across, you can swim down the river and get out. Otherwise, if you just swim for the exit you would overshoot it, and end up in the Pacific Ocean. It felt like 37 minutes of pure chaos, but I wound up exactly at the exit. I saw very little swimmers, and maybe 1 of the 100 water craft they had out there, so I figured that I took a crazy line. I basically just kept swimming for Fort Mason and when I got closer, swam for the Dome. I exited at a beach with a lot of great cheering and fanfare. From my swim GPS:

image

T-Half
There is a half mile run from the swim exit to the transition area. I swam in booties for the swim just so that I didn’t have to find my running shoes. This may have been a bad idea, as I was really slow running in numb, bare feet. People with shoes were running past me.

T1
I put on socks and my bike shoes at my bike because it was so cold. I attempted to get a long sleeve compression shirt on, but had to abandon after fighting with it for about 45 seconds. Socks, shoes, sunglasses, helmet, Go! Brrrrr

Bike
The flat mile or so going out is nice. You ride right up to the Golden Gate Bridge, and then turn up the hill that goes behind it. The “short” 18-mile bike course was beautiful. But it was brutally hilly, with probably 6 or 8 sustained climbs. There was a lot of downhill and some gnarly high-speed turns. I was expecting this. I opened up my engine compartment so to speak, and found a much smaller engine that I would have hoped for. So I did the best I could on the uphills and absolutely killed the downhills. I saw a herd of buffalo at mile 10, and I don’t think I was hallucinating. I did it in 57 minutes or so. Here is a high-speed video of the bike course dcrainmaker made last year:

T2 / Run
I racked my bike, grabbed my visor and race number, and headed out on the run. I forgot my Garmin, leaving it on my bike. Another rookie mistake. I had a heavy stomach which bothered me for at least half the run. I blame the bike hills. But I maintained high spirits and really just enjoyed the “adventure run”. It had wide gravel paths. It had tunnels that you had to duck under going beneath the Golden Gate Bridge. There were some crazy stairs, single track, enchanted forests, and some steep little hills. I think the only real road we ran down was ½ mile straight down a hill. We had to run probably a mile in DEEP sand, and then, once thoroughly exhausted, tackle the SAND LADDER:

I walked it, except for 12 steps in the middle. After the sand ladder we pretty much did the course in reverse. A lot of the closing couple miles were downhill, and I was feeling better. Good thing I didn’t have my Garmin. It would have said 14-minute-miles half the time, 7:30-minute-miles half the time, and 4:30 pace on the downhills. I really wish I would have trained on the trails for this race.

Finish:

I hit the finish line, and was glad to be done, though the race felt short in the end. 2:50:something. I actually had to get them to fix my finish time as the finish mat didn’t get my chip:

1st place finisher, Gomez


2nd Place, O’Grady


124th place, Nick White. (There were ~1600 finishers)

Overall it was a great experience. I think this race should be on every triathletes bucket list, but only the warmer June version! My heartfelt condolences go out to the Ross Ehinger family who had a heart attack at the swim start.

Happy to be back home in Carolina with my babiez! 

Peace
I wanted a moment of peace. He apparently wanted a chew toy. Win win. And, full of fiber.

Peace

I wanted a moment of peace. He apparently wanted a chew toy. Win win. And, full of fiber.

Comfort
It&#8217;s one moment in time where all the hard work, all the sleeplessness, the isolation, the loneliness, the disconnected frizzy whirlwind of raising baby twins comes to a standstill. One moment in time where none of that stuff matters, and right now, the only thing that matters is this baby needing me to go to sleep, and him grabbing my thumb for comfort.

Comfort

It’s one moment in time where all the hard work, all the sleeplessness, the isolation, the loneliness, the disconnected frizzy whirlwind of raising baby twins comes to a standstill. One moment in time where none of that stuff matters, and right now, the only thing that matters is this baby needing me to go to sleep, and him grabbing my thumb for comfort.

9PM. 
The babies are in bed.
It&#8217;s the quiet hour for us.
Time to do whatever we want.
And we&#8217;ve decided we want to do this more often.

9PM.

The babies are in bed.

It’s the quiet hour for us.

Time to do whatever we want.

And we’ve decided we want to do this more often.

Coming Up for Air
~20 yard bags of leaves raked today. Solo while watching the babies.
Yes, I&#8217;m doing October/November&#8217;s yard work on Jan 20th.
The feeling of accomplishment is incredible.
It feels like I&#8217;m finally able to come up for some air.
But the air is not the same. It feels heavy and distant.
First race of the season is in 6 weeks. No way I&#8217;ll be ready in time.
Keeping pressing on. 

Coming Up for Air

  • ~20 yard bags of leaves raked today. Solo while watching the babies.
  • Yes, I’m doing October/November’s yard work on Jan 20th.
  • The feeling of accomplishment is incredible.
  • It feels like I’m finally able to come up for some air.
  • But the air is not the same. It feels heavy and distant.
  • First race of the season is in 6 weeks. No way I’ll be ready in time.

Keeping pressing on. 

Man was not meant for the water. Man instinctively avoids it. Yet, I find myself, day after day, drawn to the black line, drawn to that porcelain-laden pit of despair, sought out by that gulf of wavy chlorine beneath the dive boards. And yet, every day, knowing this, I choose to wake up at 4:40AM, ignore my instincts, and jump into the cold abyss.

Man was not meant for the water. Man instinctively avoids it. Yet, I find myself, day after day, drawn to the black line, drawn to that porcelain-laden pit of despair, sought out by that gulf of wavy chlorine beneath the dive boards. And yet, every day, knowing this, I choose to wake up at 4:40AM, ignore my instincts, and jump into the cold abyss.

This is a test. A test to see how the site handles photos. A test to see how this whole thing works. And to think, I almost missed it all. If this cat could take photos, he&#8217;d turn off the lights, set the ISO to 6400, and always shoot at f/8. But he&#8217;s a cat. So instead, he chooses to gnaw at the camera like an animal. And the D700 is a great toy to gnaw on.

This is a test. A test to see how the site handles photos. A test to see how this whole thing works. And to think, I almost missed it all. If this cat could take photos, he’d turn off the lights, set the ISO to 6400, and always shoot at f/8. But he’s a cat. So instead, he chooses to gnaw at the camera like an animal. And the D700 is a great toy to gnaw on.

Baby Shower Registration List for the Real World

Registering for your baby shower is so much fun.  All the big retailers hand you a list of suggestions on things to get that you will “need” to start off with:  cute onesies and burp cloths, wipes warmers, baby bathtubs, toys, etc.  While all those things are well and good, they are missing some things that I would now like to suggest be added to these lists:

Batteries - preferably “C” and “D” ones, and in large quantities that would put Costco package sizes to shame.  All those cool swings and toys that were on your list SUCK THE LIFE OUT OF BATTERIES QUICKLY.  There is nothing worse than having the batteries die on the swing when you just got your little one to fall asleep in it.

Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner – by the gallon.  Babies get “stuff” on everything.  And by “everything”, I mean anything absorbent.  Life would be too easy if they just got spit-up or poop on the wood floor where you could simply mop it up. 

Shout Wipes and Tide-to-go Pens – see above reason.  And plan on having a few outfits on standby for the day for both you and the baby (or babies in my case).

Coffee – Need I explain myself on this one?  And if you weren’t a coffee drinker before, you will become one, so go ahead and add it to the list.  And in that case, I’m guessing you would also then need to register for a coffee-maker as well.

100 Pacifiers – Owning a couple of these bad boys will not last long if your sweet baby decides they like using them.  And no matter how small and immobile your child may be at the time, they will somehow magically lose them.  When they spit them out or swat them away accidentally, pacifiers go to be with the missing socks, never to return.  Have several backups!

Under-Eye Concealer – I had never used this product before, but if I want to go in public without looking like a zombie and scaring small children, I put this on now.  Nothing can prepare you for the lack of quality sleep you will get, but at least you can fake it visually by covering up those dark circles and bags under your eyes.

Cloth Diapers – but not to use as diapers.  These are the best for spit-up.  “Spit-up” and “baby burp” sounds so small, harmless, and quaint.  Reality says it isn’t.  You will be amazed at how much milk comes back up.  No tiny 6-inch square burp cloth is gonna cut it.  Cloth diapers were given to me by someone who figured it out, and so I am passing this bit of wisdom on to you.  You’re welcome.

White Noise Machine – Unless you want to hum to your baby for hours on end, or run the vacuum cleaner all day to get your baby to calm down and fall asleep, this is a must!

Oxi-Clean, Color-Safe Bleach, and Laundry Detergent that is free of dyes and perfumes – I always see “Dreft” on baby registry lists, but this is not going to last and isn’t going to get all the gross stuff out of clothes.  It’s pricey and isn’t that special.  Buy the warehouse-sized jug-o-detergent in your fave brand, and expect laundry to become your new hobby for awhile.  It is your new pastime.  If you embrace it now, it won’t bother you as much when you are literally knee-deep in it later.

This list was just a suggestion, and like all advice given to new mothers, should be taken with a grain of salt.  Different things work for different folks.  But wipes warmers are useless for everyone.  That advice you can take to the bank!

Week 6 –Thank you God

The saying goes “God won’t give you more than you can handle”, or something like that.  Some days I think that He has way way way too much confidence in my ability by giving me twins. 

Here I am with six-week old babies; part of me expects to have this down-pat by now, while the reality is that I’m putting way too much pressure on myself to be the babies expert in such a short amount of time.  This grand expectation has left me feeling overwhelmed and under-prepared more times than not.  But it was in the midst of my last whoa-is-me session that I was reminded of how grateful I am to be in my “predicament” (as I’ve honestly sometimes allowed myself to think of this as).  God truly has given me what I can handle, and I need to bring myself up to that confidence level and quit doubting myself.  He has answered every prayer that was in my heart for so long, and I’m beyond grateful/thankful/appreciative. 

So for all the sleepless, baby-screaming-in-my-ear inconsolably, spit-up on, poopy diaper days and nights – I am thankful.  I’m not deserving of such wonderful privilege, and yet He has blessed me beyond measure with these things.  

It’s not you, it’s me…

Dear Husband,

I owe you an apology and a thank you. 

Sorry I:

-blame you for stuff you have no control over.  The baby spit-up was going to happen regardless if he/she was sitting still, swinging, upright, head down, or laying peacefully on his/her side.

-get jealous over you getting more sleep than me.  I don’t know why misery loves company, but it isn’t fair to deprive both of us of shuteye just to make me feel better.  Which it probably wouldn’t make me feel better anyways.  I’d probably just feel guilty for having you staying up as well, and then get mad and say that it’s not my fault you aren’t sleeping.

-have temporarily lost my mind. And by temporarily, I mean for the next 18 years.

-am still in my pajamas when you get home from work.  Actually on second thought, I’m not really sorry for that.  Staying in my comfy flannel pants and old tank top all day is pretty awesome.  You should try it sometime! 

-have lost the gourmet touch when it comes to cooking dinner now.  This is just going to be a season of chinese take-out and frozen pizzas.  Which hopefully won’t lead to a season of being plump…

Thank you for:

-putting up with my emotional roller-coaster.  I knew in theory that it came in the “new mother of twins” package deal, but had no idea what reality would be like.

-being willing to lose sleep if it means having a more sane wife in the morning.

-still telling me I’m pretty even though I’m beyond what I consider disheveled.  I think you may actually mean it too.

-voluntarily making dinner without saying a word about it, even if that means peanut butter and jelly sandwiches because I hardly make it to the grocery store any more.

-acting like you really wanted peanut butter and jelly for dinner.

 Seriously :: Thank you for truly being a great father to our three kids, and a wonderful husband to me.  I know for a fact that I don’t say this statement often enough to you, and for that I am sorry.  You deserve to hear it more often than once a year on Father’s Day.